Friday, October 23, 2009

Junior's New York Cheesecake

Junior's Fabulous New York Cheesecake

I am a New York cheesecake person and the denser the cheesecake, the better I like it. I've never made a New York cheesecake that I really liked because the results were always a semi-dense cake. I wanted a cheesecake that is so hard that I would have to scrape it off the spoon with my teeth and chew, not bite, before I wash it down with black coffee. Yes, that sounds like a hard cake and I like it that way.

There are almost no secret recipes anymore today. Take Junior's in New York, which serves 'The World's Most Fabulous Cheesecake', whose famous NY Cheesecake recipe is all over the internet. But with all those recipes, how do you know which is the one that will work? Some recipes from the net and cook books have disappointed and discouraged me. I think the popularity of food recipes blogs is dependent on the credibility of the blog writer. If you trust that writer is giving you a true and tried recipe, you will try her recipes out. I knew I could trust Tealady because like me, she tests and writes about her culinary experiences honestly. Tealady too walked a long road to finding her favorite cheesecake recipe, finally finding it in Junior's Cheesecake Cookbook, and she was so gaga over it that I printed her post, waiting for a lean moment in my life when I can indulge in one of my top favorite desserts. But the lean moment never came and I've waited too long so 3 weeks ago, I made my first Junior's NY cheesecake and it turned out so good that I couldn't salvage a piece for my blog photos; everybody had second and third helpings. Yesterday I bought a 2kg block of Philly cream cheese (the only cream cheese I use; Anchor cream cheese is cheaper but makes lousy cheesecakes) and baked 2 of the cheesecakes again.

This recipe is so good I didn't change much except reduce the sugar by 1/2 cup. I also creamed all the cheese in one go rather than in two batches but you don't have to cut corners like me. To get the cake as dense as possible, do not overbeat but whisk just enough to make sure the cheese is creamed and smooth. The best thing about this recipe is that you beat everything together. There's no separating and whisking of the egg whites and no difficult folding in of any ingredients. Junior's NY cheesecake has a sponge cake base, and since I have many failed sponge cakes in my freezer (I had a frightful weekend some weeks back when I just couldn't get my sponges right), I used a 2 cm thick sponge cake as base but the batter was so heavy that the sponge cake was flattened to nothing. I think a base is totally unnecessary for dense sponge cakes. I do love graham cracker bases but these days my guilt about eating such stuff prevents me from enjoying them and I find myself going for the cheesecake but discarding the base/crust so now I don't bother with them. In any case, I think bases are for commercial bakers to save on the real thing, the cheese. I've seen cheesecakes with a layer of sponge as thick as the cheese layer.

Creamy and satiny...mmm..

My Documents13
Top left cake was baked using a bain marie, bottom cakes were not but turned out good. The bottom left cake had no cracks and the 'blemishes' were caused by the cling film which stuck to the cake during chilling.

I baked the first cheesecake the usual way, using a bain marie (water bath) but the cake still cracked. I read somewhere that dense cheesecakes, unlike fluffy soft cheesecakes, don't need to be baked bain marie so this time I put my cakes directly on the rack. The result was one cracked a little and one didn't, which proved to me that bain maries are more of a comfort to nervous bakers. However, the first cake fell evenly when it cooled while the ones I baked non-bain marie caved in quite a bit, but I don't think it was the lack of bain marie. I think I opened the oven door too many times to take photos and to check on the doneness, which is difficult when you have two cakes of different sizes baking at the same time. However, I may be wrong, as bain maries are supposed to not only prevent cheesecakes from cracking, they also keep the cakes moist. I overbaked the cakes, by a full 25 minutes, because I totally forgot about the cakes! The cakes were crumbly and drier than the first one I baked, so remember to set your oven alarm.

A cheesecake is easier to bake than a sponge cake. You must trust me and make this cake this weekend. This cheesecake and a cup of coffee made me felt blessed and happy. Many thanks to Tealady and Junior!

p.s. This cheesecake is still more Chicago than New York to me; I would like it to be denser. I think I may have over-whisked the batter. But still, it is an awesome cake which everybody who ate it loved. I found it rather difficult to slice cleanly. Does anyone have a good tip on cutting cheesecakes into neat slices without having to dip the knife into hot water?

Junior's New York Cheesecake

32 oz/1 kg Philadelphia cream cheese, softened at room temp
1 1/3 cups fine sugar
1/4 cup corn flour
1 T pure vanilla extract (I reduced to 3/4 T)
2 extra large eggs
3/4 cup heavy cream

1. Oven at 170 C (I used a lower temperature so that the cake will rise slowly). Recommended temp is 180 C.

2. Put 1/4 of the cream cheese, 1/3 of the sugar and all the cornstarch into your mixer bowl and beat at low speed with a butter whisk (for Kenwood machines, that would be the K-beater) until creamy, 2-3 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl several times.

Add the remaining cheese, 1/4 at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition. Increase the mixer speed to medium and add the remaining sugar, vanilla,one egg at a time, beating well after each addition but do not over-beat. Lastly add the cream.

Or, you can add all the cream cheese into the mixing bowl of your mixer and beat at low speed until creamy, scraping down the bowl now and then. Add the sugar, vanilla extract,eggs and cream (in that order), whisking well at medium speed after each addition. The batter should be satiny-smooth. Do not over beat or the cake will be less dense.

4. Pour batter into a 9 "/23 cm spring form pan and bake bain marie for 1 hour 15 minutes or 10 minutes more. Do not bake longer even if the centre is soft and wobbly because it will firm up when the cake cools.

5. Remove the cake pan carefully, run a blade around the sides so that the cake won't crack as it cools and contract. Let it cool thoroughly, cover with cling film, and put into the fridge without removing the cake from the pan. Chill at least 4 hours or better still, overnight, before serving. You can serve with a compote of berries, which is perfect for it.

Fruit Compote: Just put some water and sugar into a small pot and when the sugar has dissolved, add the fruits and cook until softened.


Jade said...

Oh I remember my first new york cheesecake...I was 9 and that little slice killed all other cheesecakes for me. will definitely try this..maybe with a crust:)

ChopSuey said...

The best NYC cheesecake is Carnegie Deli's on Broadway in NYC. I have eaten Jr's about five times and am not impressed.

If you see a recipe for Carnegie's, please test it, I think you will find that it is closer to what you are thinking of! Plus those cheese cakes are about twice the height of Jr's.

Sonia ~ Nasi Lemak Lover said...

I just ate chocolate cake from "The Little Teochew" house, now your house serve cheesecake, which is my favorite, I'm so full now, hehehe..
I never did a cake with 1kg cheese, this is a huge cake..

Anonymous said...

i always hesitate when recipe is mentioned with cups. dunno how to measure woh... enlighten me pls??

ny cheese cake fan

W said...

Who's Junior?

Zurin said...

mmmmm my only love is cheesecakes..the denser the better.

slice with dental floss, unsued one that (also make sure ur cheesecake hasnt got a crumb base...just pure cheesecake.

That was just an idea I heard somewhere. Never tried it myself bcos Ididnt care if the cake was a mess..just want to start gobbling it down.

MP said...

Terri, i will take your word for it, this will be THE cheesecake recipe for me. I just need one really good n easy one. Haha, i can dump the rest that i have been collecting but haven't try baking them cos they all seem so complicated :P

Have you got a really good (and fuss free) butter cake recipe?

Hubby likes those that are dense and moist. I baked once (recipe from The Cake Bible) but turns out dry and crumbly although the flavor is good.

Anonymous said...

Hi Terri,

Your cheesecake looks really good and I'm copying down all the ingredients as I write this.. LOL.

Will let you know the result once I bake it.

Thanks for this recipe


Shan said...

Terri, Terri, Terri...more torturing...

You know we're friends right? You know I love cheesecake, right? Hint hint hint :D

Anonymous said...

Cheese cakes R my guilty pleasures, UR’s looks so inviting & this recipe seems so simple that I was enticed in2 trying it. So made one late last nite; K nearly fainted. Thought she could have it 30 minutes off the oven! Breaking all rules we had it this morning 4 breakfast! It was the best home made one yet & more so; it was my 1st try @ baking CC. I did tried UR apple cake b4, it turned out quite good too considering I didn’t follow UR recepie truly. I quite like d consistency of this Junior CC recipe. It’s firm enough w/ a mealy yet moist texture which I like very much. It’s so easy 2 make that I’m baking another one just now, but with non sugar substitute (Splenda) 2 see how it would turn out. Will let you know. Thanks to U & Tealady 4 a great recipe that even I could b a success.

Mike C

Fyre said...

This looks delicious! Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing the recipe. I love cheese cake and planning to bake one this weekend. Question is, where do you get heavy cream in KK? Is double or thinken cream similar thing? I noticed they only have these in Tong Hing but very rarely heavy cream. Please advice.

Vijay Eswaran said...

Wow, I love New YOrk cheese cakes too..

Thanks for sharing. It looked a little tricky for me..:)

terri@adailyobsession said...

jade: high 5!

chopsuey: i did see carnegie deli's cc on google. the ingredients are similar to Cheesecake Factory's cheesecake (which i liked, but tt was a long time ago) in tt they use sour cream instead of heavy cream.

sonia: 1 kg cream cheese is not really big bc it's very dense.

anon: hmm, i always get tt question. just go to the bakery ingredients store n get a measuring cup! i like using measuring cups, it's so convenient. n if u r making tt purchase, try n get a metal cup so tt u can also measure boiling water.

w: u r not reading my post. check the links

zurin: i did think of using a string but was too lazy to bother. i'll do tt next time

mp: old fashioned butter cake are good aren't they. watch for my mail:)

kathleen: have u made it yet??

shan: i still have some but it's been days so i'd rather u get the next cc i bake. btw, i lost my handphone so pls give me a miss call:)

mike: wow, u actually baked a cc!n straight after ur basle trip too. tt k sure is blessed to hav a man who cooks well:DD n i bet the kids were happy too. keep it up man!

phoenix: u r welcome; try it

anon: get the anchor cream in a 1000ml carton. it's about rm15.90, you can get it at merdeka supermarket & bakery shops. not sure about TH n they r usually pricier.get the one with strawberries on the box.

vijay: oh no, make it, it's everything into the mixer. mike above did it, you can too:)

terri@adailyobsession said...

chopsuey: oh my goodness, i just googled carnegie deli n their cc is so tall, so smooth n their burgers n sandwiches are HUGE. i wish i was in new york!

Shan said...

Hi Terri I changed phones in September and lost a large chunk of my numbers which I THOUGHT I had saved to my sim card.

Will drop you an email instead.

Cubie said...

Hi... I have nvr make a cheesecake before but after seeing your post, I just have to give it a try and I like the limited ingredients :P Mine didnt turn out nice brown as yours and I dont have a spring form pan.. so i used the normal one, so its difficult to remove :(

maven said...

Ah.. cheesecakes.. love them! They get denser the longer you leave them, so just keep some in the fridge overnight or so!I use a similar recipe, but don't really see the point in the cornflour.

as for alternatives to dipping the knife in hot water, you could use a hairdryer to warm the knife instead.

Anonymous said...

Thought I’d made up for being away by surprising the family with a little baking. UR recipe fits d bill. Now Alx & Mel think I can open shop & just sell cc. They still haven’t clued in tt their dad is a lazy cook. I only do it if it’s simple. Btw the cc with Splenda turned out quite good, especially for diabetics who are use to d taste of sugar substitute. I increased the corn flour to almost ½ cup & up d heavy cream to 1 cup to compensate 4 d lack of real sugar. It tasted a bit more salty with a bit of tartness; but volume wise & texture are quite similar to d sugar version. Btw U can also try cutting w/ piano wire, tt’s what the cheese shops use.

Mike C

Didi said...

I trust your recipes and use them all the time! ;-)

kat said...

I used to use floss too. Then now I have hot water on tap, so I just use hot water on my knife.

Yeah, a thin wire would work. Like those you see on egg slicers. The cheese section uses it to cut soft cheeses. But I have no idea where you can get a long one!

Could I also have your recipe for old-fashioned butter cake please? Thanks! :)

TeaLady said...

I am glad you finally got to try this. Yes, I like mine a little denser too, but this one is quite good.

I like how you served this. Beautiful.

Thanks for the shout out.

? said...

I'm a student studying in the UK. My flatmates and I have always enjoyed trying out your fantastic recipes.

Yesterday, I made the cheesecake for a friend's birthday. Just tasted it. It was GREAT! Hahaha everyone loved it :)). Thanks so much for sharing with all of us.

Jeneen Terrana said...

For everyone looking for another great cheesecake recipe -- watch "Home Made in America" with Sunny Anderson THIS Saturday, October 27 at 9:30AM!
Jeneen Terrana, a baking musician will be baking a Four Layer Cheesecake and telling her story how this cheesecake helped her launch her very first album!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your recipe; the cake turned out perfect and absolutely heavenly! and it was simple to make too! the amount of sugar was just right and the texture was rich and creamy. :)

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